tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 2, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
white house and in congress. >> joy reid gets tonight's last word. thanks for joining me. does romney like you? let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. on the way to denver. let me start with this brand new nbc/wall street journal poll out tonight. what it shows in addition to an obama leading that's hardening is a deep concern that mitt romney said about that 47% of the country he says can't be counted on to meet its responsibility. it's that part of the country that romney has dismissed as free-loaders, moochers, takers. people, especially veteran families, people retired on social security, regular americans, that is, don't like being dismissed that way, injury added by insult.
i'm joined by chuck todd and howard fineman with "the huffington post." the latest poll shows among likely voters the president leads 49% to 46% for romney. that's down net two points from two weeks ago when the president was up by five. to what to you attribute the movement, chuck todd? >> well, first of all, the more important number has always been the president sitting at 49% or 50%. i would go through his job approval rating at 49%, his ballot test at 49%, those converge, and that's what matters and 49% puts you in the, quote, re-elect zone. what's affecting romney, this is something we've been watching all year long. there is an enthusiasm gap among core republican voters among core democratic groups.
overall there's a ten-point advantage among those republicans who call themselves nines or tens when on a scale of one to ten asked how interested they are in this election. there's been a ten-point gap pretty consistent all year. that's why for instance on the registered voter number, the president has a seven-point lead and it shrinks more than in half down to three, because the republican vote is more enthusiastic and they get through our likely voter screens. there's a lot of hispanics not getting through our likely voter screens. >> howard, there's a number that talks about people who haves extremely positive views of president up to 37%. how do we square those two numbers? >> well, i think the president obviously has solidified his base very well. i think the convention helped to do that in charlotte. i think that was a terrific job by his team of exciting the base. but as chuck said, people on the periphery, and sometimes hispanic voters are on the periphery in terms of turnout, they still need to be sold.
there are other parts of the obama coalition, young people, who not only turned out but worked very hard for the president last time around. there's some question about whether all of them will show up, whether they've moved on with their lives and whether they've been replaced by other young people who are going to be as enthusiastic. there's evidence they aren't. and the president's numbers on economic job performance are obviously not great. the views of the country are not great. and people on the fringes of the obama coalition are among those people who suffered most in the slow recovery from the great recession. >> let's take a look at the nbc poll in this regard. it asks about romney's 47% comments. the results weren't good. 45% responded the comments on that tape-recording made them feel more negatively about romney. only 24% said they made them more positive. "the washington post" report those comments have had a lasting effect on romney's standing. this have pierced the national consciousness in a way few
blunders do. in the closing stretch of the presidential campaign, that moment has become a defining element of romney's candidacy, as strategist told "the post," the only thing worse in politics that is worse than voters deciding that they don't like you is when voters decide you don't like them. >> reporter: one of the things we did in our poll is anybody that called themselves a soft supporter of president obama or mitt romney, or was completely undecided, we asked them a further question. we simply said, tell us why you have -- what is your biggest doubt about mitt romney. what is your biggest doubt about barack obama. almost universally among mitt romney, the question that potential -- even romney voters had about him had to do with this idea, he doesn't understand me. he doesn't understand middle class america. that's what this 47% tape did, right?
it ended up verifying a six-month campaign the obama folks had been waging against mitt romney saying he was rich, saying he wouldn't release his tax returns, talking about bain capital, as howard has brought up before. and then the 47% video comes out and it sort of says, oh, it verifies everything the obama campaign has been saying about this guy. now i've heard it straight from romney's mouth. that's the extra hurdle now that he's dealing with with this final sliver of voters who can move, and that's -- but they haven't yet. >> howard, a question for you, it's historic. why do some candidates like bobby kennedy, jack kennedy, even pat buchanan, come out of a campaign learning about something? you actually learn something. and you have an emotion about it because you have been relatively privileged, most candidates have, and you get exposed to people's lives who are very difficult. why do you think romney has avoided that moment where he
says, i get it. >> if he had that moment, he doesn't show it. and the secret videotape made back in may is that romney didn't understand that 47%, but that he had contempt for that 47%. that's the killer. that's what the obama campaign have put on television ads endlessly to affirm. as far as mitt romney learning things or not, it seems to me what he's learned most in this campaign, in order to win the nomination, was how to talk the talk, if not the walk the walk, of a right-wing conservative. which he wasn't beforehand. he's learned things ideologically, at least enough how to win the republican primary, but how it's affected him at all, we don't know. and the fact that he hasn't communicated that is interesting, chris. i think it's very interesting. it would actually be a good question to ask mitt romney at the debate.
if jim lehr is watching, maybe he should ask him that. >> i used to think, i still think, massachusetts is a poor training ground for presidential candidates because it's a weird culture up there. maybe the republicans run was not a good preparation for general election this year. anyway, in swing states the obama campaign has bombarded voters, as you said, with this powerful ad going after romney for his 47% putdown. let's take a look. >> 47% of the americans who vote for the president who are dependent, who believe they're victims, who believe the government has to care for them, who believes they're entitled to health care, food, housing, you name it, and they will vote for this president no matter what. so my job is not to worry about those -- i'll never take care of them. they should take care responsibility and take care of themselves. >> you look at this analytical, only three or four breaks,
romney would be ahead right now, breaks going to obama's side. the romney performance overseas when he blew that thing with cameron. the masterful performance by bill clinton where he reset the clock on the economy. of course, this 47%. these breaks have been going toward obama, haven't they? i mean, i can't think the last time romney got a break. >> reporter: no, really not since -- you have to go back, i would say, to may or june at the earliest to come up with a time where you feel like romney was controlling the narrative, controlling the tempo of this campaign. and then, you're right, didn't catch a break. it starts with the health care ruling at the end of june that somehow goes obama's way and then it marched through july, he takes a week off. a lot of people question that. then he ends up doing this overseas trip, as you point out. they blew their convention. blew an opportunity there. one thing about romney is he's had more experience going into a
big debate behind than any other candidate at this point in time. i mean, he had this a couple of times. he needed a good debate performance to save himself in florida during the primary campaign. needed a good debate performance to save his campaign in 2002 in the gubernatorial race there where he was starting to trail, falling behind shannon o'brien a little bit. so, he's performed under pressure before and that is worth pointing out. >> remember bob shogan of the l.a. times, howard? i once tried to low ball him with carter saying, carter would lose something coming up, i think the general election -- no the primary. he said, i've heard people say they're going to lose and they've still lost. how far can you low ball? just keep saying, my guy's going to blow this and they end up blowing it. this idea of sandbagging and low-bawling going on the past couple of days? >> it's ridiculous. it's sort of the option verse of the ridiculousness version of professional wrestling where the managers say they're going to
clobber the other guy. i take this -- i take this about as seriously. but to go back to a point you and chuck were making, the economy is still such and the views of the president's handling of the economy are still such that despite all of the mistakes he's made, despite the terrible convention, despite the bad luck, despite the wooden candidacy, despite many people thinking he doesn't understand them or he's a fraud, mitt romney is very much in the ball game here. he's very much in the ball game, and we have to remember that. >> the number of people saying the country's on the right track or wrong track inched up a bit in the latest poll with nbc. 40% say the country is going in the right direction and that's the highest percentage since the summer of 2009. chuck, i was looking at the poll and i see obama's not up at 50% but higher than where he's been all the way back to '09. is that good enough or not a good enough sign he's in good shape. >> reporter: we asked the question, is the economy in
recovery or not. 51% two weeks ago said it was in recovery. 57% in this poll said it was in recovery. >> wow. is that bill clinton's work? >> reporter: i was just going to say, is it bill clinton's? you could credit him. i think he deserves some credit in the argument he laid out at the convention. but clearly you've moved something. this isn't just democrats deciding, hey, i'm with obama and now i feel better about the country. you're seeing moves with independent voters on that question. people that are going to end up voting for romney, who believe the economy is in recovery. >> the reason for the -- the reason -- >> reporter: the whole thing is coming together for obama. he's in re-elect territory. >> guys, the numbers don't back that up. our second quarter growth number was 1.3, wasn't it? i mean, how do you get -- why are they saying it's better? >> but chris, the people who study this kind of thing and try to correlate economic numbers with election results will tell you that the numbers were good
enough in the second and third quarter in terms of growth of real personal income in the country to correlate to a victory for incumbent president. >> wow. >> no, the numbers have been improving, slightly. housing numbers are improving. real growth is there, although not robust. it's a matter of timing. it's a matter of whether the president can get enough good numbers and enough inching up of optimism and views of his job performance in time to cross the finish line ahead where he is right now. what's holding mitt romney back is that this are 3%, 4%, 5% of the people who don't trust him as an alternative and they're undecided. >> thank you so much. chuck todd, the great chuck todd and great howard fineman. republicans in pennsylvania thought their voter i.d. law would give them the election up there in pennsylvania. one republicans said democrats would be too lazy to get an i.d. today a state judge stopped the implementation until after the election.
a lot of democrats think or hope that scott brown up in massachusetts came on too strong in his debate last night with elizabeth warren. let who's had another etch-a-sketch moment. mitt romney says he won't revoke the self-deportation for illegal immigrants. let me fin wish a behind the scene looks in what happened in the great kennedy/nixon debates. i've got it for you. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
ron brown's in "the national journal" wrote, the main reason obama is doing better in battleground states has to do with his increase from white working women. working class women. keep in mind, back in 2008, nationally, obama only got 41% of that group's vote. well, today in michigan 46% say they support the president.
welcome back to "hardball." today we saw a blow to the nationwide republican effort to suppress democratic turnout. a pennsylvania judge blocked a strict voter photo i.d. requirement from going into effect before election day. judge robert simpson wrote in part, i am not still -- i am not still convinced that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the commonwealth's implementation of a voter identification requirement for the upcoming election. well, this was a blow for pennsylvania republican governor and the republican-controlled state legislature that championed it. in fact, the state's house majority leader mike turzai, the top republican, left no doubt
what the aim of the law was. let's listen to him in his own words. >> voter i.d., which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> that's pretty authoritative. state representative daryl metcalfe who authored the voter i.d. act, made clear he had no patience for voters without photo i.d.s, the new kind. let's listen. >> i don't believe any legitimate voter that wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsibility that goes with that right to secure their photo i.d. will be disenfranchised. you know, we -- we -- as mitt romney said, what, we have 40-some percent of the people living off the public dole, living off their neighbor's hard work and we have a lot of people out there too lazy to get off -- you know, to get up and get out there and get the i.d. they need. so if individuals are too lazy, the state can't fix that, but the process is put in place to get an i.d. card. there's a free i.d. available if somebody needs one. there's a process they have to go through.
they have to present certain documents. that's the way it should be. >> you don't hear it as raw as that more often. ben jealous is president of the naacp who dealt with this. he took on the voter i.d. law in pennsylvania. tim burns, the pennsylvania democratic party chair, and katherine culliton-gonzalez. director of the voter protection program at advancement project. i just want -- i know she doesn't outrank either of you start because she's an expert at this. how important is this for the people who were trying to push this through and how important was it to defeat it in pennsylvania for this election? >> this is huge. it's a great victory. we're pleased with it. the fight is still on. we've got to defeat this in the future in other states, but we've been fighting and winning in pennsylvania, in texas, and wisconsin against these restrictive photo i.d. laws. it's a great vindication for the people of pennsylvania. who would have been disenfranchised by it. >> what's the purpose? is it ethnic, partisan? who are they targeting to keep from voting?
>> well, we only need to look at the facts. there's a disparate impact on the elderly, on students, on young people, and on african-americans and on latinos. that's why we're winning. we're fighting back and winning. >> bill clinton, who is very good at making things simple, as we know, he's done it again this summer. he said this was the most blatant example of voter suppression where he said they're shutting down sunday before voting because that's when black people go to church and go on the buses because they don't have cars. you're the expert. what does this mean to you historically that this has been stopped at least in pennsylvania? >> this is big. this means all voters in pennsylvania can go vote. if you've got an i.d., you can vote. if you don't got one, you can vote. that's critical right now because as you heard turzai say, they were trying to steal the race in the state and, given what this state is, steal it for the entire country. but what this also is sort of in line with is that we're starting to turn the tide. you know, we've won in wisconsin. we've won in texas. we've got a republican governor in the midwest, snyder, to
actually veto one of these bills. we got governor mcdonald in virginia, also from the gop, to say, don't even bring it to me or i will veto it. so folks are starting to come to their senses and see that this isn't a republican thing, it's an extremist thing. it's really -- as so many have said, this is going back to a playback that was first written right after the civil war. >> but, okay, let me go to jim burn, chairman of the democratic party in pennsylvania. what's this mean for the people on the ground for people voting? i was worried about this law. now i'm worried people still think the law is in effect. and they won't go vote. it's called intimidation, not just suppression. >> it was a huge victory today, chris, like your other guests, and i think them for their partnership and i thank everybody for helping us to push this thing back past november 6th. our game now has transformed somewhat. because there's a portion of
this that the judge allowed. that is that the government here in pennsylvania can still talk about the law even though it's not to be implemented. so our game, chris, has shifted. we're going to remind voters you do not need identification to vote because i suspect in the next five weeks, mr. corbett, mr. romney, mr. turzai, mr. metcalfe and their friends will attempt to create confusion and chaos now that we beat this thing back. so we're going to be just as vigorous now as we have been. your prior guest on the prior segment talked about anger. let me tell you something, chris, there's a lot of angry voters in pennsylvania. mitt romney and todd corbett for this chicanery. they're going to have a conversation with them at the polls on november the 6th. >> let me ask you, kathy, why did this creep up on so many people? i have been making some noise about it, but this is like a multistate thing, something like 20 or 30 states involved in this, all basically pushed by the republicans, all pushed to stamping down on the chance of minority people and older people to vote. clearly partisan and ethnic in nature. here we are, i may be the only one on national television
yelling about this thing, but it just seems -- as bill clinton said beautifully, it's blatant and yet nobody's been raising hell about it. >> that's right. we're in the nonprofit sector and we've been doing everything we can to fight back against the biggest wave of voter sue expression we've seen since 1965. these types of restrictions are like poll taxes and literacy tests. we need to fight back and keep on fighting back. we're very glad for the victory in pennsylvania but we hope that the justices around the country will change their mind. >> ben, you're in a hero's role in all this. i appreciate anything you do in for our country. i want to ask you something. this seems to be hand in glove with the same kind of dog whistle stuff they're doing to white working class voters. get them upset about welfare and food stamps so you get the blacks so they can't vote and the whites angry at the blacks so they'll vote republican. it does seem like a two-pronged effort. >> no, that's right. and, you know, race has really been injected into this race in ways that are really insidious, and when you hear somebody talk
about folks are too lazy and knowing who he's talking about are single moms who are raising kids, who are working, who may number a county where there's no d.o.t. or in a county where the d.o.t. is open one day or may are a boss that if they have to go back twice -- and part of the game here in pennsylvania was when you went in for a free i.d., they ran you through all the hoops to see if you could get a driver's license. and then if that filed, said, by the way, here is a free i.d. that's much easier to get. and, you know, it just -- look, guys, we got to get back to a place, and frankly past gop chairs like ken mehlman have talked about this, where we try to win on the ideas. where it's not about suppression, not about intimidation. just running an honest race and cutting bait with the nasty tactics they seem to drag out whenever they get nervous. >> let me ask jim burn, the chair of the party, have the african-american community been emotionally responsive to this? did they know they were the target in large part of this effort? >> absolutely, chris. and, you know, we were worried a
year ago about finding something to motivate and excite our base. african-americans, students, seniors, hispanics. the president has been effective this year in doing that, but in a way i have to thank mr. corbett and mr. romney and turzai and metcalfe for their candor. they called this thing what it was. that helped to act as an accelerant. yes, we know what they wanted to do. we know what they were going to try to do. like i said, we're going to come and send them a message on november the 6th. >> just remember who was the greatest registrar in minority voters in the history of philadelphia, frank rizzo. he had the nightstick to prove it. thank you, ben jealous. congratulations for the naacp's hard work. thank you jim burn, i guess it's a partisan victory in a weird way. and most importantly, katherine culliton-gonzalez, keep educating us on these cases. of voter suppression around the country. up next, what did the far right think america would look like in 2012 when president obama took office?
♪ back to "hardball" and to the "sideshow." well, the campaigns for both mitt romney and president obama are trying to tamp expectations leading into tomorrow's debate while playing up the debating skills, of course, of the other candidate. one of romney's biggest surrogates went a bit rogue this weekend on "the daily show." take note. >> here is the great news for republicans, we have a candidate who is going to do extraordinarily well on wednesday night. >> oh, my [ bleep ], we got a runner! we got a runner! apparently only chris christie did not get the memo his party nominee sucks at this. >> wednesday night is the restart of this campaign and i think you'll see those numbers
start to move right back in the other direction. and this whole race will be turned upside down come thursday morning. >> what are you doing, christie? for god's sake, if romney fails to meet those heavy expectations, he's going to leave the general election, creating chaos in the general election and that's going to leave 2016 -- oh. the jersey is strong in this one. >> in political language the governor there was sandbagging. actually he was sandbagging. he should have been low balling, that's playing up the skills of the other guy while claiming have you no chance at all. we have talked about how some republicans seem to be running against a president who doesn't actually exist suggesting that president obama is some kind of foreigner with hidden plans to outlaw guns and bring european-style socialism to the u.s. of a. well, back in 2008 focus on the family, a hard right christian group, sent a memo to supporters about what 2012 would look like if obama was elected. well, first a prediction about
the boy scouts of america. here they are. the boy scouts no longer exist as an organization. they chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the supreme court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters. no, actually, the boy scouts are still going strong. next, the prediction on gun laws. it is illegal for private citizens to own guns for self-defense in eight states and the number is growing with increasing democratic control of state legislatures and governorships. wrong. again, the second amendment is still intact and the number of new gun laws enacted by the obama administration adds up to exactly zero. finally, the prediction about how the president would respond to captured terrorists. quote, terrorists captured overseas are given full trials in the u.s. court system, and they have to be allowed access to a number of government secrets to prepare their defense. well, actually government secrets to prepare a defense, i don't think so. and here's a secret for you, the top terrorist, osama bin laden, is dead. no doubt if the president
wins re-election those and other far right scenarios will get a new luster for the second term. because fantasy leads to more fantasy. up next, the big debate last night between elizabeth warren and scott brown. well, who won that one? that was a top of the card. who lost and what does it mean for the battle for the senate? you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
the country right now with more people watching and more dollars being spent than any other senate contest around the country. and last night in massachusetts senator scott brown and harvard law professor elizabeth warren took to the stage for a fiery second debate. you wouldn't normally think of the home state of ted kennedy and tip o'neill holding a tossup race but brown is holding his own against warren. and for him to be successful, he must convince obama voters in massachusetts and obama is expected to win by double digits up there, to also vote for him, a republican. susan milligan is a contributing editor to "u.s. news & world report," and michael steele is the former chairman of the republican national committee, also an msnbc political analyst. i'm going to try to look at this down the middle.
i saw the whole debate today. i was fascinated. i think david gregory did a hell of a job. like a referee in a boxing match. each candidate had a tough moment or two. here is warren tripped up, i think, when asked to name a republican she could work with. just name a senator or any bunch of them. here is what she said. let's watch. >> can you name some republicans in the senate today that you are able to work with on big issues, substantive issues, that the country faces? >> i think probably richard lugar would be one that would come to mind. >> he's not going to be there. >> he's not going to be there. >> who else could you name, senator? >> that is a problem. let me do this one -- let me -- >> just let me ask the question. are there any republicans that are going to be in the senate that you feel you could work with substantively and compromise with? >> look, it depends on what the subject matter is. >> what was the problem with naming a few others like, well, corker is pretty good. i didn't like the way he ran that campaign, but -- lamar alexander, lindsey graham, a
lot -- saxby chambliss. >> i think the mistake was not -- >> she didn't have an answer. >> she named lugar. >> he's gone. >> yes, i understand. but i think the mistake she made was not saying something like, there was literally no member of the senate i will not work with. wellstone and domenici worked together on mental health issues. ted kennedy worked with orrin hatch and brownback. the whole problem is that place is like the sharks and the jets, and i'm not going to play into that. >> she did seem to play into that. what do you think, michael? i thought we were going to hit brown on something just as dubious in a minute. >> i agree with susan on that, and i think it speaks to the overall tone in the senate and in the house, quite frankly, that you can't work with anybody. god forbid you actually announce ahead of time before an election that you intend to work with the other side to solve the nation's problems. i think she fell into that trap. i think susan had the right answer, the best answer would
have been, i'm going to the senate to work on the people's business. that means working with everyone who's a colleague in the senate to solve the problem. so i'm not going to pick one side or the other. i'm there to work to solve the problems. i think that would have put her in a better position if you push back -- if david pushed back and said, well, specifically someone? then she could say, look, you're trying to divide me, divide my job up even before i get to do it. that's not how i'm going in to do and be a u.s. senator. i think that would have been a stronger answer. >> she could have mentioned susan collins from maine -- >> absolutely. >> other women. because women tend to be a little better at this as a general rule. >> thank you. lisa murkowski is another one. >> brown, scott brown, he stumbled when asked to name a supreme court justice he admires. his first response is one that elizabeth warren may remind him of in the next month a lot of times. she was laughing when she heard his answer. let's watch. >> who is your model supreme court justice? >> let me see here.
that's a great question. i think justice scalia is a very good judge. justice kennedy. justice kennedy is obviously very good and justice roberts. justice sotomayor. there's -- i think they're very qualified people there who actually do -- >> scalia and sotomayor don't exactly -- >> that's the beauty of it being independent, david, you can actually -- >> if you had to pick one -- if you had to pick one -- >> listen, i don't need to pick one. we have plenty of justices up there and i'm proud of the ones we have. >> so do you like that slip and slide? he starts with -- he knew i made a big bonner there. he had a big problem so he goes well, he worked his way over to sotomayor. >> i know. it was like he was trying to remember the names of the seven dwarfs. and he was trying to balance it out. oh, i said scalia, now i have to say kennedy or sotomayor. >> he was heading left there, michael. he was skipping away as fast as he could from the most conservative guy around, scalia. >> that was an interesting moment.
my takeaway was i wasn't sure if that was someone he genuinely admires and likes his jurisprudence and his mind and intellect and respect for the court, or was it the first person that popped into his head because he wasn't expecting the question? then he started scrambling. look, if scalia is generally a guy that you admire, then state that and move on. don't be swayed by the boos in the crowd. again -- >> well, he was. >> if you're an independent -- well, he was. but if you're an independent -- >> he didn't seem too independent there for a couple seconds. anyway -- by the way, he should have said, i like scalia, but i don't agree with him. brown's tone, this is a little question of gender politesse perhaps. drew some boos when he responded to her criticism of his record on jobs and the economy. take a look at this very interesting moment that has two sides to it. >> she's obviously misstating the facts. these were rejection by both democrats and republicans, professor. it wasn't a -- if you're going
to comment on my record, i would at least have you refer to -- >> can we just -- >> excuse me. >> if this is going to be -- >> go ahead. >> excuse me. i'm not a student in your classroom. please let me respond, okay? thank you. >> why, susan, do you think the crowd had that instinctive reaction? because i'm not sure to that. they didn't like it. >> there's been an undercurrent involving gender in this whole campaign and it's not just coming from brown. >> but what was -- interpret it -- >> professor warren, she's a scolding schoolmarm. >> i think she just got it. it's not the professor. that is nongender specific, but when you say a student in your classroom, that does sound like miss jean brodie kind of talk, like he's talking about somebody in a high school, a woman teacher. i heard it. i don't want to jump on it because i don't dislike this guy, scott brown, but i do think that's going to hurt him. >> i don't know if it will hurt him so much. look, you know, i get the point here about how that may have sounded. but, look, elizabeth warren is a player now.
she's like a lot of other women who have cut a path in politics. she's doing that, and she's done so very effectively. so i think we really kind of need to grow up about how we treat women in politics. everybody knows something that is misogynist or condescending to the point of being offensive. i think that doesn't get close to that. i think -- >> why do you think the audience roared at that one? >> i think -- that's probably more political as opposed to anything having to do with gender. >> you guys handled this really well. by the way, it's a tough call. i think this race is really close and i don't think that debate made it any less close. thank you susan milligan, and michael, as always, a fair guy. up next, another etch-a-sketch moment for mr. mitt romney. he keeps flipping. he's flipped on illegal immigration. now he won't revoke, he says, obama's two-year-old visas for young immigrants. he's flipped so many times. [ snoring ] ♪ [ snoring ] [ male announcer ] introducing zzzquil sleep-aid.
one more senate race the democrats now think they have a chance at is the race out in arizona between u.s. congressman jeff flake and former surgeon general richard carmona. the democrats have dreamed of making this contest competitive. and a recent league of conservation voters poll has carmona trailing by a point. it's going up with his ads for carmona in the state hoping to flip that red state seat currently held by jon kyl to blue. we'll be right back.
we're back. mitt romney has lived up to his reputation as an etch-a-sketch candidate, a flip-flopper, and here we have another example. wait until you catch this one, immigration. just yesterday romney told the "denver post," scene of the new debate tomorrow, that he wouldn't revoke the visas, the new ones, the two-year visas, president obama has granted to some young illegal immigrants. in june he said the people who
have received the special visa that the president has put in place which is a two-year visa should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. i'm not going to take something that they've purchased. before those visas expired, we will have the full immigration reform plan i have proposed. compare that to what we heard in the primary campaign about young people here illegally. with me now -- let's watch that. >> when i was governor, i took the action of empowering our state police to enforce immigration laws. when you were governor, you said i don't want to build a fence. you put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state which was giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals that come into this country. >> even the lingo he's using, the derogatories, illegals, as if they're not people first. they're illegals. with me now is the president for center of american progress neera tanden and analyst ron reagan. ron, i want you to start with this. it seems we have been together watching this for months, the evolutionary nature of this candidate.
obviously when he's running against people he would like to get to the right of, he uses terms like illegals. he said you're a magnet. we're not going to have any of that. no sympathy, no empathy, nothing. screw these people, kick them out of the country. have them self-deport. now he's decide, when the president is running 70% among hispanics, that he might like a piece of the action. >> that's exactly right. this is the slow motion or maybe not so slow motion pivot that we all knew that romney was going to try to make. you can almost hear the graphite sand or whatever it is in the etch-a-sketch shifting around. as you mentioned, it seems like only yesterday, and maybe it was only yesterday or the day before, that this is a guy who was for his immigration policy, was basically self-deportation. that's a polite way of saying, make people's lives so miserable that they will flee the country. by jumping back over the wall. but now he's a friend of the illegal, as he put it.
>> friend of voters, a friend. he said, you're a magnet. we're not going to have any of that. no sympathy, no empathy, nothing. screw these people, kick them out of the country. have them self-deport. now he's decided when the president when he's running 70% among hispanics, he might like a piece of the action. >> that's exactly right. this is the slow motion or maybe not so slow motion pivot that we all knew that romney was going to try to make. you can almost hear the graphite sand or whatever it is in the etch-a-sketch shifting around. it seems like only yesterday, and maybe it was only yesterday or the day before, that this is a guy who was for his immigration policy was basically self-deportation. >> throughout this campaign as well, we've talked about my record in massachusetts. don't forget, i got everybody in my state insured. 100% of the kids in our state have health insurance. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country
than that kind of record. >> there is he, dr. feel good. but three days earlier, catch this. >> we do provide care for people who don't have insurance, people -- if someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. we pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and give them care. and different states have different ways of providing for that care. >> reporter: that's the most expensive way to do it, emergency rooms. >> different states have different ways of doing that. >> ron, i don't know where to start with this guy. first, he wants empathy for creating a wonderful health care plan that covers about everybody out there, 97%. and then he says, dump them in the er. which is it? >> you don't know where to start with that. it's so empathic of him to provide health insurance for everyone in the massachusetts but it wouldn't be for him to provide it to the other 49 states. >> go to the er. >> of all the stupid things you can say about health care in the
america, it has to be in the top five stupid things, people can go to the emergency room to get their care. yes, let's give the most expensive, least practical care possible. that's a great idea. >> and sit there for a couple hours. by the way, i love the fact everybody that doesn't have health insurance lives in an apartment. i mean, there is a weird urban view of things. there's probably people living all across this country, in every kind of housing, rural, suburban, sometimes urban, that don't have health insurance. don't you know that? >> i think you could say many things about mitt romney but in touch with struggling americans is not one of them. the issues on health care -- >> right wing or a flipper? >> you know, i think the fact that you have no idea what he'll say next week is a big challenge. >> that's my big question, too. maybe we'll find out tomorrow night. you'll be watching, ron reagan, you'll be watching. when we return, let me finish with a pair of presidential debates that changed everything and what happened behind the scenes of those debates.
positioning of the big night, the feel of the whole thing? when kennedy and nixon arrived at chicago studio the night of the debate the democrat grabbed another edge. he knew his rival had spent many days in the hospital nursing an infected leg wound. now he could see how awful nixon look and this triggered the historic battle of the makeup. kennedy had been in california and working on his tan. nixon always trying to match the guy who had come to congress with, just after world war ii, also declined makeup. bill wilson, serving as jack kennedy's media adviser described what came next. ted rogers said, when's your guy going to get some makeup on? rogers was wary. nixon's not going to get his makeup on until jack kennedy does. i said, it looks like a mexican standoff. that's how it happened.
when he got kennedy alone in his green room, wilson put makeup on him. nixon's guy ran down and got a product known as lazy shave, known as beard stick. he called frank stanton head of cbs news into the control room to see the stark disappearance of the candidates. he called ted rogers and said he was satisfied the way nixon looked. that's not the way the rest of the country saw it, when nixon started sweating through that beard stick. the next venue was nbc studios where we produce "hardball." wilson arrived with the kennedy brothers to figure out something was up. someone set the temperature to freezing. felt like a meat locker. jack said, what the hell is this? wilson remembers racing down to the basement looking for the air condit